While 17.13% of Fla. homes may be vacant, the number is misleading because it includes some vacation homes. Nationally, 16M homes are vacant.

NEW YORK – While housing shortages are a more commonly cited problem than housing vacancies, some areas of the country see a higher number of empty homes than others. Empty homes can be a concern as they can sometimes lead to economic blight – but a high number of empty homes doesn’t necessarily mean trouble, economists say.

More than 16 million homes are sitting vacant across the U.S., according to new research from LendingTree, which ranked the nation’s 50 states by their shares of unoccupied homes.

Vermont, Maine, and Alaska have the highest vacancy rates – between 22% and 20%, according to the study. Florida ranks sixth. According to LendingTree, the state has 9.8 million housing units, and 1.68M (17.13%) are technically considered vacant.

However, not all vacant homes have been ignored by their owners.

“Homes can be vacant for a variety of reasons, and just because an area has a high vacancy rate doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with its housing market,” says Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economist analyst. “Instead, it could mean that the area is rapidly building new homes for sale in order to satisfy high buyer demand; it can also mean that an area is a popular spot for secondary or vacation homes that go unused for most of the year.”

Source: “16 Million Homes Are Vacant in the U.S. – Here Are the States with the Highest Vacancy Rates,” LendingTree (March 1, 2022)

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Author: marlam